Gujarat Coastal sites (44) of Sarasvati civilization and seafaring merchants of Meluhha

The essay by Yadhubirsingh Rawat of Garhwal University provides a lucid account of the role played by 44 coastal sites in Gujarat of Sarasvati Civilization for trade transactions by seafaring merchants of Meluhha who interacted across the Persian Gulf and with Ancient Near East sites. A figure of sea level simulation shows that sea-level was possibly higher during the period from 8th millennium to 2nd millennium BCE by about 1 metre thus explaining the navigable channels in Rann of Kutch and Saurashtra along the Indian Ocean coastline, linking with Persian Gulf. Rawat notes that 550 of the 2000 sites of the Sarasvati Civilization are in Gujarat and as many as 44 ancient sites are on the coastline of the Indian Ocean. (Source: Yadhubirsingh Rawat, 2015, Coastal Sites: Possible Port Towns Of Harappan time in Gujarat , in: Sarah Keller and Michael Pearson, eds., 2015, Port Towns of Gujarat, Delhi, Primus Books, pp. 187-215).

Rawat demonstrates in a vivid figure, the possible sea routes during Harappan times. The possibility that Lothal and Surkotada were linked through the Nal Sarovar in a sealane should not also be ruled out.

There is a possibility that seafaring merchants from Ancient Far East had also carried tin (cassiterite ore) from the largest Tin Belt of the Globe in the Irrawaddy, Salween and Mekong river deltas to be delivered to the trade intermediaries in these Gujarat coastal sites for onward transmission to the Ancient Near East through the Persian Gulf. This requires further researches and identification of possible ancient shipwrecks in the Indian Ocean which may throw further light on the Ancient Maritime Tin Route which preceded the Silk Route by 2 millennia.

S. Kalyanaraman, Sarasvati Research Center, January 1, 2017


Sea level simulation +1m ASL (After Indus Project Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, Kyoto).

Distribution of Harappan sites (550) in Gujarat (After SV Rajesh, 2011)

Coastal sites of Gujarat and possible sea routes during Harappan times (After YS 2015)

List of 44 Harappan sites on Gujarat coast (Locality index)


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